Global Design Dialogue

Our Shaw Contract Global Design Dialogue series is here to help us understand how we all can design to be Human Centric, Insight Led and Optimistic.

New Dialogues available every week!



in Ottawa we definitely have a sense of regional design because we are very much connected to the federal government in this city. And so the federal government drives a lot of the design work that we do and it has to be something that's responsible towards the budget of the government as well as long-lasting and something that is not offensive because it has to, strong emotions are emitting from it. So it's a very neutral usually style of design with color that is used in materials that aren't long-lasting in terms of like maybe a coat of paint or accent colors or accent pieces of furniture

Johanna Garwood | MCRobie

We have offices in all major cities across Canada and as a result, we actually leverage a lot of our colleagues in those offices to help us with projects. So as much as we have regionality in physical location, we get it out of our staff and it's interesting. I always find you know what I'm working with our Halifax office the accents and the tones and the words people use I'm always intrigued that even just how projects are delivered and terminology that people use across Canada is different from the west coast to the center of Canada to the east coast people use different words to describe the same thing. 

Tanya Irvine | Arquitecture 49


In Vancouver we tend to use a lot of gray. It's a common colour and I guess we are inspired by our gray days, which is kind of crazy when you think about it, but then you think about the tropics and they only use bright colours when it is already there, so it's funny how that happens, that definitely I'd say we have a lot of gray colour schemes, a lot of gray undertones in our finishes whether it's, you know, laminate floor, vinyl floor, carpet. 

Lisa Hansen | Area 3

When referring to regional design, we feel that one of the most influential elements is climate. We feel the climate really plays a big part in the regional aspect of design that you know, we have to take into consideration different natural outdoor elements that are brought into a space and its really select materials that are suitable for the environment based on their location, so,  as an example,  a space in Australia, that doesn't have any snow or people tracking in salt and snow and things like that or very different atmosphere to what we're dealing with in North America.

Sarah Oakley | Parallel 45


We work a lot with indigenous communities. We work with Metis, First Nations and Inuits and even Inuvialuit communities all across Western and Northern Canada and their perspectives really do colour our attitudes towards design, towards sustainability and towards orientation. So, very careful consideration of  what the East means and what the West means and what the South means and what the North means and each of those directions has a different quality of light and has a different quality of story. So those are the things that really influence our work that I think situate us in the global North.

Vivian Manasc | Reimagine

What is regional design for me? I think it is really influenced by several factors. You have the city or the cities, you have landscapes, and looking in Ottawa specifically the river and the Parliament are a great influence, in general Canadian nature and in Ottawa with the really extreme seasons. I think we are designing tools, so affects and supports that kind of extreme weather from extreme summers to extreme winters. There's a lot to do with culture.

Tzoofit Hammer | Principal, Senior Designer | 4TÉ


That's the secret question. It's my favorite color. Orange has always inspired me, it’s full of energy and light reminiscent of the Prairie sunrise and sunset that we are so much used to here in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It's a tough, tough color to introduce sometimes into spaces, but I try my best to make us sneak it in wherever I can. I also really like the clear, true colors versus the muddy, muted tones. I had the privilege to be on the Color Marketing Group for a number of years where we predicted the color trends for three to five years and basically all commercial goods, fashion, automotive etc. It was cool because you got to meet with people from all over North America and Europe and predict what was coming and why and what inspired it. I got to name a color once, which is an orange color. So bounce like a basketball.

Debbie Grant | Grant Design Group Inc.

There was the year where everything was white and walnuts with a splash of colour. So that sort of permeated all the way across the country. So it wasn't just one area and that’s what I’m saying. Regional Design in Canada doesn't seem to be as prevalent. I mean, I think that the trends are across the country but not necessarily a flavor from one end to the other.

David Gibbons | LWG Architectural Interiors


I actually think that it is our willingness to experiment, I think that we definitely from a design perspective, we are excited to try new things and take a risk,fail fast and try again. I think that's a really big part of our attitude towards design and I find that particularly important in workspace design. We do think that we lead the world as far as workspace design goes as exploring new strategies and being a part of making sure that we are always pushing forward and trying new things.

Heidi Smith | Gray Puksand 

The local design is that,  Montreal has the wonderful thing that it's French, in a basically English-speaking continent, North America with the US and Canada, the rest of Canada is mostly English so our French side really brings out the Latin side of things, Montreal is known really to have the “Joie de Vivre” where people,  love what they do.

Vincent Hauspy | Provencher Roy


My favorite colour to design is black, always. It is a very elegant, contrasting colour, it combines with everything, it highlights what you want to highlight, it is sexy,  goes with everything, it can also be romantic and allows us to play with the spaces. Always black for me.

Natasha Osman | mo-os

I like outside colours and inside colors. So if I'm outside, my absolute favorite colour is the colour of the sky. Just after sunset, again, in my culture, it's called the gloaming. So the sky turns kind of this electric blue and there's a little purple in it. It's just electric and it's really fantastic.

And my other favorite outside colour is the colour of the deep end of my pool. It's just incredible, aqua. And I know if I'm seeing that, I'm probably a really happy camper.

Kara MacGregor | MAC Interior Design


We always look at nature for inspiration, it comes from plants, colours, sunsets, rivers, mountains and all surrounds. We have applied many aspects of Neuroarchitecture, and for me, thisis one of the most thoughtful project that we have done and I am very proud of it

Pablo Redondo | Chile

The emotional changes that go through six months of the year when it's below minus 20 is insane, but also locality is more than what your Province looks like. It's really what your surroundings do to shape the people within the Province itself

Nicole Kell | StudioEn


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